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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 04-10-15, 04:21 PM   #1
Tapeworm21
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My quest for the ultimate commuter bike and why it's a Fairdale Weekender.

I see a lot of threads with the "which bike should I get" topic so I'd like to share with ya'll about my bike purchase last year. My whole objective was to build my ultimate commuter bike. Seems simple but it needed to fit all my needs of commuting in San Francisco/Oakland on a daily basis. Ten years of daily riding and no car adds up to a whole lot of trial and error. I wanted light, cheap, and durable.... all 3 are hard to find but I think I got pretty close. Light for carrying up stairs, cheap ($1000ish budget) because I need to leave it outside without worrying about it, and durable because I don't want to constantly maintain the damn thing. Just a "hop on and go" type of bike. Granted, I have 4 commuter bikes that do more specific errands but I wanted one to do it all. My "go to." My bar bike AND grocery bike. Again, just the ultimate city bike that can do it all. I hope for this to help a new commuter out and look for features on bikes that aren't always mentioned. I've found most brands offer city bikes but have quick releases everywhere, low spoke wheels, and just don't suit many of my needs. Most importantly, the ones I've ridden just aren't much fun to ride. The number one thing I think people should look for when looking at bikes is to find one with NON PROPRIETARY components. Meaning.... it's a Cannondale so only a Cannondale seatpost will work on this bike. It's a Trek so only this bottom bracket will work.... etc. Fine for high end bikes... nightmare for commuters.

I started with this:



Why this bike?
1. It's a cool looking bike. Not the coolest but cool enough.
2. 1x9 drivetrain. Simple but plenty of gearing. Less to go wrong and very quiet in all gears. Worrying about cross-chaining just doesn't exist. Does a chain last longer on a 1x9? I'm not sure but maybe? And while I like internal shifting on bikes and understand its place in the world, I never liked the feel of them. Tons of drag in the hubs too... but a Roloff sure would be nice, eh?
3. Disc brakes. Good stopping power, low fuss, pads are easy to replace (and cheap). BB5's do sorta suck to adjust, but stay adjusted.
4. Tire clearance. I'm a fan of big tires. Smooths out the ride, can hit whatever you want, and makes carrying things in panniers easier. More stable overall. I chose 700x35c... just narrow enough to comfortably fall into the train tracks.
5. Geometry. Long wheelbase for stability, upright so I have a better peripheral of city streets, and plenty of heel clearance for panniers. Also, it's sort of slow feeling bike. Fast bikes in SF is sort of dangerous I've found. Slow means more time to react to scenarios.
6. It's $800-$900. Not very expensive in the bike world. (I swapped out quite a bit upon building.... add in an extra $400 for accessories)
7. Sealed bearing. All of them. Bottom bracket, hubs, headset. Less fuss, easy to replace, and again... cheap.
8. 36h wheels for extra strength. Rare find on a stock bike. Also, standard spokes if anything goes wrong... can get them at any bike shop.
9. Steel frame. Rode aluminum for many years and while I like aluminum for road and mountain bikes... I dig steel for commuting. I feel like I can bash it around more. Also, they sell this as frame only. Rare these days.

The one crappy thing I can't do is put fenders on the bike. I can do fenders with a narrower tire but would rather have a big tire. So this isn't my go-to rain bike unfortunately.... but it's a drought so who cares.

Accessories I added:
1. PDW front basket. $120 but looks kinda cool. If someone makes a comment about my bike on the train.... it's always about that damned basket.
2. Axiom Journey rack. $50 and can hold 150 lbs. Best damn commuter rack on the market IMO. Difficult to install.
3. Tioga spider pedals. $120 but the look sorta cool.
4. Paul Components chain keeper. $50 but the one that comes on the Fairdale sucks. It had one job and failed at it.
5. WTB Speed V saddle. $40. I own 3 of these and I love it for less than 20 mile rides. Stock seat is terrible.
6. Schwalbe Marathon tires. $120 and still haven't gotten a flat with them. Amazing tire and reflective side walls for visibility.
7. PDW grips. $40 but I had to. Too badass not to. Also, the stock grips on this bike are TERRIBLE.
8. Locking skewers for wheels. $30 Delta security skewers. Cheap but maybe good enough for SF? Pit locks are on my wish list... as well as a saddle lock.
9. KMC hollow-pin chain. $60. It was gold so.... I bought it. Surprisingly, the shifting made a noticeable improvement as well.
10. Crane brass bell. $15. Soon to be a Spurcycle... better sound and louder.

Two things come stock on this bike that HAVE to be swapped. The seat and the grips. The rest seem to be just fine.

The weight is around 30-35 lbs. so it's sort of a porker but I still have a little bit of youth on my side to carry it.

After a year of riding, here is the result and pretty happy with it. I have a Fairdale Coaster as well and have a blast on it... however I do not under ANY CIRCUMSTANCE recommend a coaster brake for city riding. OMG is it a sketch fest. Highly recommend the brand and no I'm not affiliated with them. Just stoked on their product. Best part about this bike? I've only seen 1 other Fairdale in SF.... nobody else has this bike! Only one or two shops in the area even carry the brand!



Please note that this is now called the Fairdale Archer.
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Old 04-10-15, 05:17 PM   #2
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love the bike! How does it fair going up some of those big hills? do you feel you wish for a double or triple?
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Old 04-10-15, 05:28 PM   #3
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Contrary to popular beliefs and movies, San Francisco is relatively flat. The hills are steep but there's easy routes around them. And honestly, I don't hang out with people that "live up on the hill" ya know? Not quite fancy enough. I wouldn't want to take this bike up anything more than a 10% grade (maybe?) but it climbs pretty well. It's also comfortable out of the saddle if I do need to stand. Other than my high end road bike, it's the only bike I ride and actually use ALL the gears on a regular basis.
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Old 04-10-15, 05:41 PM   #4
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Love the colors... love the damn basket.
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Old 04-10-15, 05:46 PM   #5
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That's a fine looking bike. Oh yeah, the basket's not bad looking either, lol. I really like all the thought you put into this.
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Old 04-10-15, 08:33 PM   #6
AlmostTrick
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Needs green cable housing and pedals.

The weight? Not bad, considering the basket, rack and large tires.

The 1x9 gearing? Plenty.

Having something different than everyone else? Priceless!

Great job, I like!

Oh, and a $1000 bike is not cheap, and I most certainly would worry about leaving it outside!
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Old 04-10-15, 09:52 PM   #7
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Love your basket! Maybe I'll see you around town on my new bike.
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Old 04-10-15, 10:02 PM   #8
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I'd never choose this bike for my commute, but I do like the 1x9 setup - that is one attribute I'd take for a road bike, if it were available - as well as the wide tire clearance.

On my current bike, I use one gear 80% of the time, another two, 15%, and another maybe 5%. So I spend all my time in four gears, on the same chainring. Unless I'm going after some super steep hills, I would never need more than one chainring, or so my experience suggests. But few bikes allow that, at least for the complete ones.
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Old 04-10-15, 10:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapeworm21 View Post
I see a lot of threads with the "which bike should I get" topic so I'd like to share with ya'll about my bike purchase last year. My whole objective was to build my ultimate commuter bike.
Nice bike and I do have 1x drive train envy.
That being said...I'd much rather commute on your s-w tarmac. Although I'd probably add a disc fork, switch the crank to compact, run my cole crabon disc up front, and add some raceblades. That's pretty much my perfect commuter.

How much do you want for the tarmac? /only half joking

Last edited by spare_wheel; 04-10-15 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 04-11-15, 07:21 AM   #10
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I've never heard of this bike company but a look at their website shows some nice bikes.

I think your concept is very sound and my Handsome Devil is set up very similarly to your bike (even has a 1x9 drivetrain) and it would be a great commuter.

I love seeing bikes that are highly individualized to their riders needs.
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Old 04-11-15, 08:37 AM   #11
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That looks nice. I can tell you put a lot of thought based on your experience(s) into making it what works well for you.
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Old 04-11-15, 11:45 AM   #12
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I've never heard of this bike company but a look at their website shows some nice bikes.

I think your concept is very sound and my Handsome Devil is set up very similarly to your bike (even has a 1x9 drivetrain) and it would be a great commuter.

I love seeing bikes that are highly individualized to their riders needs.
Handsome does a pretty cool bike too! Maybe a little bit more cruiserish off the shelf? Probably lighter too. Fairdale only make a few different models but they revolve around a pretty cool concept. Make it strong and long lasting... the owner was a pro BMX rider (fairly well known) and took the BMX world and brought it to city bikes/road. They're still very new but I'm sure they'll really take off in a few years.
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Old 04-11-15, 11:55 AM   #13
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Great concept. We all have different wants/needs but, I did the same with a couple road frames a few years back. Ended up with one of my favorite bikes. Not only a "grab & ride" type of bike but, a bike that I would take out on a long hilly adventure
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Old 04-13-15, 12:25 PM   #14
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I am seriously looking at a Weekender now, I love the look and simplicity that much! Thanks for posting this! I need to find a dealer around my area that has one to test ride.
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Old 04-13-15, 01:38 PM   #15
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I like hydro discs and carbon forks better ... but the same bike off the shelf.

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Old 04-13-15, 01:43 PM   #16
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Fairdale makes some nice bikes. The folks that run the company have a good sense of humor, and that's something you don't always see in the bike industry.
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Old 06-12-16, 11:49 AM   #17
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Nice bike! Thanks for some modification ideas. Here's my slightly cooler WeekenderMX: http://www.bikeforums.net/hybrid-bic...kender-mx.html
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Old 06-12-16, 08:53 PM   #18
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The Fairdale Weekender is a very popular bike in austin. Sold at my neighborhood LBS. They also make rear racks I have seen used to carry skateboards and guitars.
Cool local company with bmx roots. I believe they own the Odyssey bmx brand.
As evident here:
2016 Weekender MX | Fairdale Bikes
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Old 07-09-17, 12:50 AM   #19
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Still ride my Fairdale Weekender OG all the time. Classic in its own time!
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Old 07-09-17, 07:24 AM   #20
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Nice setup

I have to ask, doesn't it rain all the time in San Francisco? It looks to me like there is room for fenders, if you use a flat strip. It actually works pretty well.

My rack area is a little "busy" but you can get the idea here. with a bracket from the rack you don't even need any stays. The front does have regular fender stays.
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